Developmental programming of macrophages by early life adversity

Magalhaes, Marlene S., Potter, Harry orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-8398-0264, Ahlback, Anna and Gentek, Rebecca (2022) Developmental programming of macrophages by early life adversity. In: One, No One, One Hundred Thousand - The Multifaceted Role of Macrophages in Health and Disease - Part B. Elsevier, pp. 213-259.

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Macrophages are central elements of all organs, where they have a multitude of physiological and pathological functions. The first macrophages are produced during fetal development, and most adult organs retain populations of fetal-derived macrophages that self-maintain without major input of hematopoietic stem cell-derived monocytes. Their developmental origins make macrophages highly susceptible to environmental perturbations experienced in early life, in particular the fetal period. It is now well recognized that such adverse developmental conditions contribute to a wide range of diseases later in life. This chapter explores the notion that macrophages are key targets of environmental adversities during development, and mediators of their long-term impact on health and disease. We first briefly summarize our current understanding of macrophage ontogeny and their biology in tissues and consider potential mechanisms by which environmental stressors may mediate fetal programming. We then review evidence for programming of macrophages by adversities ranging from maternal immune activation and diet to environmental pollutants and toxins, which have disease relevance for different organ systems. Throughout this chapter, we contemplate appropriate experimental strategies to study macrophage programming. We conclude by discussing how our current knowledge of macrophage programming could be conceptualized, and finally highlight open questions in the field and approaches to address them.

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